Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!!

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Friday, 16 December 2011

And if I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening & good night...

Last night people gathered at Angel Place to say a very fond farewell to The Paper Mill. Decked out to the nines the now empty gallery space looked as impressive as ever complete with DJ's and disco balls. The drinks were flowing, as were the memories, and I doubt very much that this is the last we'll hear from these guys.
Credit needs to be given to those who made The Paper Mill possible- Aaron Anderson, Kate Campbell, Anne-Louise Dadak, Christopher Hodge, Siân McIntyre, Stephanie Peters, Laura Pike & Amelia Wallin- these guys made The Paper Mill what it was & let's be honest- it was bloody brilliant.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

5 Questions With... Artist Harriet Body

Harriet Body, performance documentation, The Paper Mill, 2011.

Your work appears quite conceptually driven with an almost documentary style (especially in the case of The Belly Series & The Bus Series) Is this the intention & how did it come about?

My work is fundamentally concerned with process. The act of creation is what is most important to me, and the work that is exhibited as a result of this act is purely documentation. So yes! My work certainly is documentative in style.

For The Belly Series and The Bus Series I was interested in capturing every day existence. The Belly Series looks at capturing a potential vehicle for new existence and by filming my belly every day I am exploring routine, the everyday and the documentation of self. The Bus Series is similar in its documentation of a seemingly mundane activity. It celebrates and examines the intricacies of the every day bus journey by observing the bus’ movement and sounds.

Where do you get your ideas from & who/ what inspires you?

I suppose the most significant inspiration for me is people. I’m interested in man-made materials and concepts and the complexities as well as the pure simplicity of being human. I think this is where all my ideas stem from initially. In terms of influential artists, I feel really inspired by the art of my friends. There’s something so incredibly special about knowing somebody and then experiencing their creations.

For your work that was recently shown in The Paper Mill show, As It Stands, you made rubbings of the gallery itself- how did this idea come about?

I wanted to make a work that exists only in context. I am interested in site specificity and how the limitations of this result in a kind of freedom. The Paper Mill – which is the title of the work and the name of the gallery – uses the gallery site as a medium. The work began as a performance to which an audience was invited where I literally rubbed three sheets of paper over the entire exhibition space. The action took approximately 6 hours to complete and the end result of the rubbed paper was exhibited in the space as part of the group exhibition called As It Stands. At the end of the exhibition the work was discarded. It existed and made sense only within The Paper Mill.

You have a diverse practice that encompasses sound and video- do you have a favourite medium to work with?

I like using sound and video in its ability to capture a certain extent of reality but I don’t really have a favorite medium. I don’t like to limit myself to a certain medium in particular. I’m a no-frills kinda gal in that I always strip back the material elements to my work so that it is at it’s simplest form. I think simplicity is beautiful.

What are your plans for the future? Do you have any upcoming shows or projects?


I have applied for a Masters of Fine Arts at COFA (College of Fine Arts) for 2012 so I’ve got my fingers crossed for that. I’ve had a very busy 2011 in terms of exhibiting and all the rest of it so I’m looking forward to a good lazy break over Christmas. I have a new project in the works for an exhibition in March 2012 at a new ARI window gallery in Glebe called Branch 3D which is exciting!
Harriet Body, The Belly Series (Month 1) video still.
Harriet Body, The Paper Mill (Wall) detail, 2011

Harriet Body, The Paper Mill (Floor) 2011

You can check out Harriet's work on her Website.

All images courtesy of the artist.

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Friday, 9 December 2011

What I Had I Gave Away

Thomas C. Chung
Thomas C. Chung & Amanda Humphries
What I Had I Gave Away
Hardware Gallery: December 6- 17, 2011

Being already familiar with the work of Thomas C. Chung I expected great things from his latest show at Hardware Gallery. I was not disappointed. Beautifully framed behind glass, the collection of knitted/ crochet work looked clean & professional- although dificult to photograph (apologies for the poor photo quality). Having previously displayed his work directly onto the gallery wall, I liked the black backing and frames. It helped each work to stand alone as a piece of art and ensured a visual feast upon first seeing the individual elements clustered together.
Thomas C. Chung, Soft Water Bottle, 2011
To choose a favourite work would be like asking me which of my cats I like more- each is beautiful and unique with a distinct personlaity and emotive quality (and for the record I am not a crazy cat lady- I only have two). Chung's work has the innocence of childhood and appears like a memory forgotten. His work is so tangible that I had an overwhelming desire to own a piece but found the idea of choosing completely impossible.
Amanda Humphries

Amanda Humphries, Treasures, 2011
The work of Amanda Humphries is quite diverse. In particular her mixed media work Treasures is exceptional and demonstrates a degree of skill. The water colour pieces, Figuring Things Out, are also fantastic and I feel it is here that Humphries talent lies. For me, the water colour and embroidery work was so much stronger than the painting. While the beautiful pastel hues are maintained throughout, a safe choice perhaps, but one I actually liked, the proportions on the painted figures are messy. In general her figures appeared awkward and stiff in situations where I would imagine they would have been better more fluid. This being said the detail and contouring of the water colour pieces cannot be faulted.
Amanda Humphries, Figuring Things Out 1, 2011
I wondered at putting these two artists together in a show. Where is the connecting theme? The indisputable common element? Perhaps it is in the medium, as both artists call upon mixed media to create their work, or perhaps it is the underlying child- like essence that encompasses What I Had I Gave Away. Whatever the reason it works and is definitely worth a look.
Amanda Humphries, Movement 3, 2011
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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

MOP Projects

Dara Gill, Untitled (survey with stones) 2011
Alex Wisser, Dara Gill & Brown Council
Blank Canvas, In Action, Inaction, Group Work
MOP Projects
: December 1- 17, 2011

Dara Gill's work really isn't about him. It's about you. Untitled (Survey with stones)asks the viewer to complete a survey, derived from the book Stress Control: How to cope with anxiety by Vernon Coleman, by simply answering yes or no to a series of questions using stones and markers on the floor. The questions relate to the day to day happenings which may increase a persons level of stress such as Do you live in the city? Can you hear your neighbours television and squabbles at night? Do you live in a block of flats? The idea being the more you answer yes the more likely it is you're stressed and anxious.
Dara Gill, To Do List, 2011. Edition of 250.
What was most fascinating about this work was people's response to it. Most took their role as participant quite seriously, completing the questionnaire in silence. The audience participation aspect of this work is what makes it so successful. It almost acts like a study of human behaviour within and of itself, igniting that nosey place within us that is intrigued by the responses of others.

Gill continues this interactivity through the work To Do List which are 250 custom designed notepads each editioned and signed by the artist. At first I was unsure if we were expected to take them but all you need is one trail blazer to start and reach for the first one and all bets are off. This work seemed like an antidote to Untitled (Survey with stones) which was concerned with anxieties- well, here the artist is providing you with a means through which to tailor them- a to do list. 
Dara Gill, Untitled (survey with stones) 2011

Brown Council, Sex 1.12.2011, 2011
I have long since wanted to witness a performance by Brown Council but have just never had the chance. I was glad to see some of their work here. While Group Work is more the aftermath of a performance than the actual performance itself, it still manages to maintain a sense of poignancy. The three chalk boards titled Sex, Love & Death display names erased and smudged, except for the last one written. Prior to the opening Brown Council stand together and recall moments and people who have come into their lives. People they have loved, who they've slept with or who have died. As each name is spoken allowed it is written on the board only to be immediately erased and replaced with the next. What is left are remnants of memories, a tarnished record almost unidentifiable.   

Referencing Sigmund Freud's A Note Upon The Mystic Writing- Pad, Group Work is an evocative exploration of the sometimes confronting subject of memory and those who are forgot.  
Brown Council, Death 1.12.2011, 2011

Alex Wisser, Blank Canvas 4, 2011
This week my parents decided to sell my childhood home. The home I grew up in and lived for the first 10 years of my life. So for the first time is 18 years I went back to where I learnt to walk, where I had my first Christmas and Birthday- I went back to my childhood. It's for this reason that I found the work of Alex Wisser incredibly compelling. His photographs of homes that had been lived in for over thirty years , taken on the day they are to be sold at auction, are seeped in sadness. It is the lack of human presence that makes these images so forlorn. The random fridge magnet, the old clock- at one time someone's possessions, now simply indicators of past occupants. Then there is the knowledge that with new owners comes the opportunity for new possibilities and with renovation the past is erased. As Wisser comments, 'Thirty years of one person's life is another person's blank canvas.'  
Alex  Wisser, Blank Canvas 2, 2011
This latest offering from MOP Projects was exceptional. Often when there is more than one artist on show I am usually blown away by one only to be disappointed by another. Not the case here. Each of the works is thought provoking and insightful- a rarity these days.
My own Dara Gill original

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Friday, 2 December 2011

On the way to MOP Projects....

Walking to the MOP Projects opening last night I stumbled across this. Now, I don't often stroll around Chippendale so I had never before seen this Artist In Residence Project but was struck by it's sheer scale and impact. Currently the heritage- listed Irving Street Brewery has been transformed by artist Brook Andrews with his site specific work Local Memory. A celebration of the local community, Local Memory presents reproductions of original photographs of the workers & the broader community.

I loved this work by Andrew's- its nostalgia, its acknowledgment of the past and the history of the building and its ability to make me stop my hectic pace on a Thursday afternoon to stand and reflect. 

Artist In Residence is a temporary public art project commissioned by developers Frasers Property Australia & Sekisui House Australia for Central Park. The artworks installed will exist for up to three years and is curated by Anne Loxley.  

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Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Gemma O'Brien (L-R) Paraphanelia: Feather (Y), Rope (O) & Worship (T) 2011
Greg Sindel, Robert 'Thom' Smith, Mathew Calandra, James Taylor, Gemma O'Brien, Sydney Guild: Christopher Hodge, Hossein Ghaemi, Amelia  Wallin.

The Paper Mill: November 22- 29, 2011

FourxFour presents the responses from artists who participated in The Paper Mill's 2011 Residency Program. The artist's & collectives involved were invited to use the studio space for their own practice but to also engage with the broader community through events and programs. FourxFour is the result.

I found this exhibition to be very 50/50 in terms of quality and innovation. While some works were exceptional, others fell short, making FourxFour and exhibition of extremes. However in true Paper Mill style, it was beautifully executed. 

Gemma O'Brien, Paraphanelia: Worship (T) (detail) 2011

Gemma O'Brien + Workshop Attendees, Alphabetic Order, Zine: Edition of 26

Gemma O'Brien, An alphabet created by the letter drawing workshop
Gemma O'Brien's work focuses heavily on typography and the detail, particularly in Paraphanelia: Feather (Y), Rope (O) & Worship (T), is stunning. For me her work was the standout of the exhibition. The results of the typography workshops O'Brien held during her residency are also on display and I was pleasantly surprised at the drastic degree to which the styles of typography varied.

Greg Sindel's Ghostly ARTES: Three Tales of Terror is absorbing. The graphic novelist demonstrates great skill with a pen and his story unfolds through cleverly crafted characters. For a sum (any amount you feel appropriate) you can purchase one of his mini publications as a piece of 'take- home' art. The way in which the work was displayed on the wall was overwhelming and there is sense that there is simply not enough time to fully appreciate it all. But it's worth taking the time. 
Robert 'Thom' Smith, Untitled Coneheads, 2011

Setting up for The Last Stand
I was not entirely convinced by the work of Robert 'Thom' Smith and James Taylor. Both the medium used and its execution seemed juvenile to me and reminded me of drawings my mother might have kept from my Primary School days. But perhaps that's the point. Either way, when pitched with such detailed work as O'Brien & Sindel it's difficult not to see it as somewhat lacking- however this could be seen as a curatorial fault- but given it was a residency exhibition the selection was fairly pre- determined. Like I said, 50/50.
James Taylor, Untitled, 2011

Greg Sindel, Ghostly ARTES: Three Tales of Terror, 2011

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